Do The Uncomfortable Thing

1By Kyle Hendricks

Most worthwhile risks involve some level of discomfort.

Two years ago, I took a giant leap out of my comfort zone when I packed up my car and moved from Indiana to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

I can’t give you a straight answer as to why I chose California. What I do know is that something inside me couldn’t be still until I took the risk to leave. I chose to follow a voice inside my head that encouraged me to leave behind a world of security and community for the unknown. I want to share with you five important steps that I’ve learned about risk-taking from my experiences.

“A risk is a marriage of danger and desire, so it should scare you.”

1)     Assess your risk- A risk is a marriage of danger and desire, so it should scare you. If you’re scared, especially if you’re scared, you’re starting from the right place. Explore what scares you about your ambitions and if you’re still willing to get uncomfortable. If you’re still up for the challenge, set some goals for yourself as a blueprint to overcome your fears.

2)     Adjust your expectations- Setting goals is great, but it is important to not attach yourself to any outcome. It is the journey, not the destination, which you will learn from. Keep the destination in mind, but set smaller goals to get there. When the unexpected occurs, and it will, ask yourself how you can learn from your setbacks as well as your successes.

“Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the practice of acknowledging fear and continuing to move forward.”

3)     Know yourself- No one knows you better than you, and that’s important to remember when exploring your limits. Always check-in with yourself when you get uncomfortable, and always listen to yourself. You will go much further if you think of your edge as a place to explore rather than a place to retreat from.

4)     Stare bravely at your fears- Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the practice of acknowledging fear and continuing to move forward. Stare down your fear when you reach your limits. See fear as an opportunity for growth. Take a breath and step through it into something better.

5)     Stay kind- It can be easy to fall into a selfish and irritable place when you’re uncomfortable. Remember to appreciate those who help you along the way. Every day is an opportunity to learn from each person you encounter, and you always have something to give back. Keep an open mind and an open heart at all times, you never know who you’re going to meet.

I am not yet a success story. In the present moment I am working the front desk of a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. I am still living paycheck to paycheck. My student loans are a mess and I’m trying to figure out how to get the money to fix my car. I have no clear vision of where I will be in a year. I’m figuring it out. I took a huge risk, and I’m still very uncomfortable. I’m growing and learning from it.

The 18th annual Spirit & Place Festival takes place November 1-10, 2013. In the spirit of the festival, I encourage you to make an uncomfortable choice. What inspires YOU to take that risk?

Kyle Hendricks is a writer and actor based in Los Angeles, California.

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2 thoughts on “Do The Uncomfortable Thing

  1. I admire your bravery, Kyle. Nine years ago, I did the same thing. Moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis, that is. Not for an acting career, but simply to prove to myself that there was more to life than working my way up a steadily dissatisfying corporate ladder with no proof of opportunity. With $600 to my name and my trusty Saturn, I took the same journey you’re on.

    I may be back in Indy (for now), but I’ll never regret those 5 years I lived in LA. The first year was so hard and I was forced to grow up in ways that college and my first professional job never allowed me to do. I was broke a lot too, but that just opened the door for me to learn how to enjoy living in such a vibrant city with just a few cents for fun.

    Your advice is sound, and I hope to one day follow in your (my) footsteps yet again. Congratulations on taking that risk! It will prove immeasurable for years to come.

    • Thanks, Candy. It’s great to hear that I’m on the right path from someone who is a little further along. LA is a tough city, no doubt. And you’re right, there is so much to learn from letting go of expectation and working with what you have. Was it the Buddha who said attachment is the cause of all suffering? I’m not a Buddhist but I think there is a lot of truth to that idea!

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